"Your new summer obsession" - Here's why you should be watching HBO's The Night Of

Heard everyone raving about HBO's The Night Of on Twitter but not sure what it is? Help is at at hand. The eight part crime drama is based on Peter Moffat's BBC mini series Criminal Justice which was first shown in 2008 and starred Ben Whishaw. It follows the fictitious murder of a young woman and concentrates on the legal proceedings surrounding the case as the accused awaits his trial. 

Predictably there's plenty of red herrings to keep innocence as a constantly questionable variable. Given our obsession with Making a Murderer, this is no less than compelling drama. 

The series has already shown on HBO in the USA but is currently available in its entirety to watch on Sky and has been showing weekly on Sky Atlantic. But why should you care? Here's what the critics are saying. 

Entertainment Weekly (opens in new tab): "These powerfully acted investigations drive a narrative that meticulously tracks the procedures, language, and culture of the actors’ work. In doing so, The Night Of produces endless richness and sobering meanings about the degrading cost of a flawed justice system."

The Daily Beast (opens in new tab) : "This HBO miniseries, about a young man on trial for a murder he likely didn’t commit, is about to be your new summer obsession. Listeners and viewers who became obsessed with Serial’s Adnan Syed, The Jinx’s Robert Durst and Making a Murderer’s Steven Avery may have felt like they intimately knew the motivations and inner-workings of these men. But Ahmed’s performance allows this sense of empathy to go much deeper."

The Telegraph (opens in new tab): "The Night Of is a glorious puzzle box of a drama which begins as a straightforward murder-mystery but is soon revealed to be something far smarter and more provocative. Fans of Peter Moffat’s Criminal Justice, which aired on the BBC in 2008 and on which this is based, will expect nothing less, yet The Night Of brings more to the table."

The New York Times (opens in new tab): "The early episodes have a theaterlike intimacy, and they pay close attention to the particulars of arrest and processing. Mr. Ahmed deftly shows Naz’s dawning terror as his world becomes ever smaller; the cinematography conveys the isolation, the disorientation, the feeling of being funneled down a dank, fluorescent-lit chute into the system."

HitFix (opens in new tab): "The first episode is both nerve-wracking and darkly comic, like an elaborate joke about the stupid kid who made every mistake possible on the worst night of his life. If Ahmed wasn't so quietly charismatic, the hour would be unbearable; with him, and with Price and Zaillian at the top of their respective crafts, it's riveting, as the tension builds and builds until a moment where I had to pause to remember to breathe before I could applaud the sheer ingenuity and craft of all involved."

Time to get watching. 

Image credit: HBO

Louise Blain is a journalist and broadcaster specialising in gaming, technology, and entertainment. She is the presenter of BBC Radio 3’s monthly Sound of Gaming show and has a weekly consumer tech slot on BBC Radio Scotland. She can also be found on BBC Radio 4, BBC Five Live, Netflix UK's YouTube Channel, and on The Evolution of Horror podcast. As well as her work on GamesRadar, Louise writes for NME, T3, and TechRadar. When she’s not working, you can probably find her watching horror movies or playing an Assassin’s Creed game and getting distracted by Photo Mode.